Rangers hoping things will improve against Town

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FOLLOWING a six-goal mauling by fellow strugglers Coxhoe Athletic, bottom club Sillksworth Rangers will need to produce a massive improvement if they are to take anything from tonight’s Wearside League visit by Stockton Town, writes MALCOLM PRATT.

“We are at a crossroads both on and off the field. We need to strengthen the squad if we are to get away from the basement,” said secretary David Steele.

Rangers have managed just two wins and a draw in 16 attempts and have by far the worst goals difference of 34.

In contrast, Stockton are third top with 12 wins and just two defeats from 14 matches.

Steele is looking forward to the return of captain and key player Dean Hannah at the weekend but he misses tonight’s game through suspension. Also out are Scott Keen and James Alston.

Only one other game is scheduled with Peterlee at home to Cleator Moor Celtic.

David Newby and Anth Hazard are the only absentees and the Newtowners will field an almost full-strength squad.

The club is mourning the death of president Arnie Church, a former chairman and secretary.

A number of clubs are involved in the first round of the Durham Challenge Cup. Spennymoor Town, who have conceded only one point out of a possible 42, are hot favourites at Newton Aycliffe in an all Ebac Northern League clash.

Boldon CA entertain Crook Town hoping to cause an upset, while South Shields, second bottom in the ENL First Division, could well find it difficult against Bishop Auckland at Heritage Park.

Esh Winning host Billingham Synthonia at Waterhouses, aiming to cause an upset while Hartlepool United Reserves should be too strong for Norton and Stockton Ancients.

Just one ENL fixture is scheduled with Newcastle Benfield, 3-0 winners over Sunderland RCA at the weekend, going to third-top Bedlington Terriers.